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In 1997, when Tom Peters coined the term "personal branding," few had any idea of exactly what it called for and how to achieve it. Today, personal branding has become the standard for career development and a necessary part of how we communicate with others online.

Blogs and social networks only add to concerns—and opportunities—for our brands. We now have "personal e-branding"; that is, we have to take who we are in reality and compose an Internet version of it, without losing authenticity. That transparent nature of our brands allows for open dialog among peers, including admitting mistakes and communicating a clear opinion on where we stand on various topics.

As we market ourselves as brand over the Internet, we must be conscious of how we present ourselves and how people perceive us. Due to the nature of the Internet, most people have neglected "small things" that could actually help propel our brands to superstardom.

What may go unnoticed by some, will turn into a competitive advantage for others.

Tip 1: Name and Topic Associations

If you want to be known for a specific topic, then people have to be able to connect your name to it. Every time they see your name, the topic should surface in their minds. Likewise, every time they hear your topic, your name should come to mind.

But how do you accomplish this?

  • First, pick a domain name that is either YourName.com or YourTopic.com.
  • Second, take the title tag of your Web site that aligns with this domain, and put the topic and then your name: "Your Name—Your Topic." That way when your site is crawled and ranked in Google, it will start the association.
  • Third, use your name and topic in the keyword meta tags for your site.

(Free meta tag generator: www.addme.com/meta.htm)

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image of Daniel Schawbel

Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He's also the author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success and Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future. Reach him at dan.schawbel@gmail.com.

Twitter: @DanSchawbel.